Death Penalty

Scott Dozier

Scott Dozier. Nevada Department of Corrections.

A Nevada judge has blocked the execution of an inmate who sought to die based on objections of a drugmaker that wants its midazolam returned.

Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez of Clark County issued a temporary restraining order on Wednesday to stop the evening execution of Scott Dozier, report NBC News, the Las Vegas Sun, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Associated Press.

Dozier had asked the courts to end his appeals so he could be put to death. Pharmaceutical company Alvogen Inc. said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that Nevada officials obtained midazolam by “subterfuge” when the state bought the sedative from Cardinal Health.

Alvogen said midazolam has been used in botched executions and its use has been controversial. Gonzalez said the drug company had established a reasonable chance it would suffer damages to its business reputation.

Nevada Assistant Solicitor General Jordan Smith told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he planned to file an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court. The Nevada Department of Corrections announced Wednesday afternoon that the execution had been postponed indefinitely, the Review-Journal and the Nevada Independent reported.

Nevada had planned to use a combination of the sedative diazepam, the opioid painkiller fentanyl and the paralyzing agent cisatracurium in Dozier’s execution. Experts have said the combination has never been used in an execution. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled in May that the execution could proceed. The state substituted midazolam after prison stocks of diazepam expired.

Dozier has been convicted in two drug-related murders. He was sentenced to death for the second murder. Nevada has not carried out an execution since 2006.

Another drugmaker had objected to the use of its drug in an Arkansas execution, but did not win the case.

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